The Denver athletics program is one of the best in the nation. In fact, DU’s athletics have been named the top Division I program without a football team for seven out of the past eight years according to the NACDA. The program consists of 17 varsity teams, that all have received national recognition over the years. Recently, the hype surrounding Denver’s athletics have been heavily concentrated on DU’s hockey team who made a run to the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament last season and DU’s men’s lacrosse team who won their first-ever NCAA National Championship, marking Denver as the sole program outside of the eastern time-zone to have won a national title. While the accomplishments by both teams are tremendous, recognizing the phenomenal women’s programs on campus is just as important.
I met up with women soccer’s senior defender, Stella Norman, to get an inside look on what playing division one soccer is like at the University of Denver. The chemical engineering major transferred from Stony Brook University prior to the 2014 season, and since has been a huge asset to the Pioneers. Norman notes that, “The coaching staff has been really supportive and they are really easy to talk to.”
Norman, who loves hockey and wanted to be closer to home, says DU is like, “having a second family.” As a first-year student myself I’ve noticed the connection between student athletes is strong across all 17 varsity sports, in response to my observation Norman adds, “The whole athletic community is really nice, you can look up when you’re playing and see hockey, lacrosse, swimming, soccer (if they are home,) all in the stands supporting you.”
Support for Denver’s women’s soccer team surpasses the group of student athletes who attend each game as three out of Denver’s four home games so far this season have had an attendance of over 900 according to the 2015 Box Scores. Among the 900 plus fans attending, there is a strong youth population. The aspiring young, soccer fans and players are present at every home game and ask for autographs afterwards. Norman says, “It’s a really a driving force for a lot of the girls on the team to see all the little kids and look back and say, ‘wow that was me when i was younger’ which inspires us.”
The women’s team certainly continues to inspire, with their relentless passion displayed at every game thus far. Denver’s roster includes a total of 23 players, with three seniors, six juniors (two red-shirt juniors), eight sophomores, and six freshmen. The team carries a younger majority, but still are like a family and according to Norman, “have just focused on being really positive this year, obviously we aren’t having the best year, but the fact that everyone has remained positive has gotten us to the point in the season where no one has given up and [we’re] ready to go all in.” Keep supporting the women’s soccer team the rest of their season, in which the team is scheduled for four more home Summit League games, before the Summit League Tournament and the NCAA tournament if they qualify.